Buffy, Anya, and Cruella D'Will are sprawled on the floor. Buffy and Anya both breathe, "Giles!" but Willow snides, "Uh-oh, Daddy's home. I'm in wicked trouble now!" Giles, looking all stern and handsome and manly, tells her, "You have no idea." I'm squirming in my seat with excitement at this point, not in anticipation of any plot developments, but just from the sheer joy of seeing Giles. The heart and soul really went out of this show when he left. Maybe we could start a fund to bring Anthony Stewart Head's family to Hollywood. Giles tells Willow that she must stop, but she is predictably resistant to this message. Willow attempts to get up, but he drops her with a few words. Go, firmly-in-command Giles! Cruella D'Will is pretty amused, and sneers that his "borrowed power" won't be strong enough to stop her. Giles replies that he wants to help Willow, and Willow isn't having it. "Thanks, but I can kill a couple geeks all by myself," she says, and then more insulting blah-blah about Giles butting in.
Willow wants to fight Giles; she manages to stand up this time, knocking aside his spell. She then advances on him, bitching about the spat she and Giles had in "Flooded" regarding her resurrecting Buffy when he called Willow a "rank, arrogant amateur." "Well, buckle up, Rupert," she sneers, "'cause I've turned pro." Willow's voice gets really deep on that last part, and I wonder if part of turning pro involves some sort of testosterone supplements. At this point I lose all interest in saving Cruella D'Will or in her even surviving the next hour, because NOBODY talks to Giles that way. Kick her ass, Giles! Cruella D'Will is cooking up some sort of spell when Giles speaks a word and encircles her with a green, glowing donut of energy. Willow levitates, and her head flops back. Giles explains that he's "contained her and her powers within a binding field." Can he do that to Dawn too? As he expositions a little more, he suddenly looks closely at Buffy and interrupts himself to exclaim, "You cut your hair!" I'm not sure how he can tell, since it's tightly pulled back in a ponytail, but he's Giles and he knows these things. Buffy stares at him, then sniffles and hugs him tightly. Awww, I know just how she's feeling. Anya looks on, wanting in on the hugs and puppies, and then offers, "I'm blonde! I colored my hair -- again." "Yes, I noticed," replies Giles, and extends his other arm to her. Giles hugs both women to his chest and then walks over to examine Willow. He tells her he's sorry about Tara, and Cruella D'Will manages to open her eyes. She threatens that the energy donut won't hold her forever. That's always how I feel about donuts for breakfast. Sure, they're a nice treat, but they won't even hold you over until lunch, you know?
Giles and Buffy are in the training room. He expositions that a coven in Devon, England, "sensed the rise" of a "dark force fueled by grief" in Sunnydale. Did they sense a great disturbance in the Force, perhaps? Millions of voices crying out from the pain of terrible plot and pacing, and never silenced? The coven then saw the death of Tara and "imbued" Giles with their collective powers. I like Giles's snazzy black-magic-fighting black overcoat with the collar up. He's also working a whole rumpled, spiky-hair thing. Quietly, Giles asks, "Buffy, what's happened here?" Buffy hems and haws a little and then admits that Willow has been abusing magic, but she "barely even noticed." She looks up to the ceiling and then finds the courage to begin her sad litany: "Xander left Anya at the altar, and Anya's a vengeance demon again." Giles looks very concerned. Buffy continues, "Dawn's a total klepto. Money's been so tight that I've been slinging burgers at the Doublemeat Palace and -- I've been sleeping with Spike." She looks at Giles, waiting for his reaction; he just stares at her. Buffy shifts nervously under his gaze, and then Giles's face crumples and he bursts into laughter. He covers his mouth with his hand, but can't stop laughing. Buffy looks annoyed, then exasperated, and then she rolls her eyes and starts to laugh too. They laugh and laugh, and it's very infectious, and I can't remember the last time that someone even smiled on this joyless show, so I laugh too.